tv Know Your Ally CSPAN August 14, 2016 4:00pm-4:44pm EDT
announcer: you're watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span 3. like this on facebook. >> each week, american history's tv up next, know your ally: britain. this 42 minute introduction to english society and the events that led great britain into world war ii was shown to the united states before they arrived for the d-day invasion. ♪
>> this game wasn't one by the man who made that touchdown. everyone has a share in winning it. we are playing another kind of a game now. it is for keeps. this game was not one by any single player either. it was a team called the united nations. china. little guy from big joe russia, john britton and -- britain, and the guy called yank. let's take a look at the men that carry the ball with us. who are they? how do they live? what makes him tick? we will start with the one that is toughest to understand, the one we know just enough about to confuse us, john britain.
narrator: here is where he lives, an island no larger than idaho. half a million people live in idaho, 96 times that many live in great britain. the nazis and the japanese complain about living space, but more people live in great britain than in japan and there is more congestion than anywhere on earth. that is a clue that explains a lot. we built front porches on our houses because we do not want to miss the chance to see neighbors. but great britain hides himself in a box and put the head around that to make sure that they don't, living that close to neighbors, privacy is part of the pursuit of happiness. in the sardine can, they learn to get on with neighbors.
they have to, he is -- that is why they have so little time. -- crime. believe it or not, even in war times, the british officer does not carry a gun. nor does the professional crook. in 1926, when the world heard about great britain, transportation, the whole length of the country was paralyzed by a general strike. it was still surprising to learn that they were playing football. you can only understand if you live in a sardine can. but things improve with this guy on our team. no part of great britain is more than 100 miles from the sea. every day for hundreds of years, years of peace and of war, john britain watches ships sail. that means, whenever he wants to bust out of the sardine can, it is the sea that gets him there.
he has been busting out for hundreds of years. and that led to australia, south africa, new zealand, canada, and for that matter the united states of america. ♪ narrator: how did john britain get on our team? in 1938, the yankees won the pennant, the last trains ran on the 6th avenue l, well, john britain got excited about the same things. his kids, his job, getting exercise on his day off, playing football -- [applause] narrator: only 300 miles away, people were at another kind of event. [shouting]
narrator: in london, at every british city, they were reading about what was going on and they got sore about it. but they were well determined to keep it none of their business. then -- this. the czechs had an agreement with france and france had one with great britain. it could mean war even though everybody was anxious to avoid it. they had been through one war, they had been wounded. hundreds of thousands of brothers and friends had been killed. there was nothing beautiful about war and they had no desire for another. ♪ >> the last effort to preserve peace, the prime minister flew to munich.
narrator: all is well, great britain, france, italy and germany were signing a packed -- pact, in which the germans agreed they had no further claims to make. it would be peace in our time. then it turned out to be a strange peace. hitler's first move was to break the pact. now they knew that something had to be done about germany. they approved the construction act, the first in their history. ♪ narrator: the british put their cards on the table. they had said to hitler -- >> if you go into poland, we will fight. likely, there would be conquerors of britain, he thought he understood the
british. he did not. [explosion] narrator: he did not. the sleeping lion began to wake up. he snapped and growled. he dropped bombs. he hoped that common sense would return to the german people, and that they would throw out hitler. instead, -- >> the german armies invaded luxembourg and belgium. >> today, surrendering armies. ♪
>> the french chief of state has offered an armistice. narrator: great britain was alone. czechoslovakia occupied, poland was defeated, denmark was gone, norway was gone, only great britain now. great britain was alone. hitler considered the war to be over and everybody considered it over except the british. on the 11th hour, the lion was finally aroused. >> we will defend our island, whatever the cost. we shall fight on beaches, in fields, on the street. and we shall never -- [siren] narrator: for a year, they took
everything that the nazis could throw at them. for one solid year, from 1940 until 1941, they were the only major power fighting the greatest war machine in the world. [explosion] [sirens] ♪ narrator: they took body blow after a body blow, solid punches before they even had their guard up. they took it on the chin and hung onto the ropes. they never went down. ♪ narrator: and while they buried the dead, they prepared to finally for the day when they could strike back. there were no victories, just defeat after defeat. some heroic like the beaches of
dunkirk, or like the hills of greece, where british soldiers landed. they landed knowing that they were facing overwhelming odds, but some left glorious. hong kong, singapore, and burma. through all of these long months, the british people were thinking and planning and working, only for the day when they themselves would take the offensive. that day came. [explosion] [airplane motors] ♪ [gunfire] [airplane motors]
what's more, the people of great britain heard the church bells ring. [bells ringing] narrator: more than three years earlier, they were warned that this would be the signal of invasion. but long since the nightmare of the threat of invasion had passed, now they rang out the song of thanksgiving, the sound of victory. ♪ [bells ringing] ♪ narrator: that is the plain and simple truth about great
britain, but those on the axis team know that the only chance of winning is to split our team up. so they played a game called, divide and conquer. names like these tell the british we are not taking the war seriously. they tell the russians that we are letting them down. they kill the british. they tell us -- >> it is ridiculous for roosevelt to tell the american people that they have anything in common with the british. on the contrary, they are different in every respect. narrator: there are differences, that is true. for instance, we drive on the right side of the road. in great britain, on the left. we go for baseball. [applause] narrator: they have a number called cricket.
[applause] narrator: anyone that ever drank coffee over there knows why there will always be an england. >> is your coffee alright, sir? >> blimey. >> so i went in for dinner -- hey! ♪ >> and the smaller piano. >> are they kidding? >> why do they always mush so much, you cannot understand a word they say.
narrator: there are differences, but there are some things they have in common. and these are the important things in life. a little thing called a free representative government, we call it congress. they call it parliament. a little thing called freedom of speech. in the next war, they will bring it to you. the trenches are just outside. >> this meeting is called under the american workers body. it is dedicated to the organizing of the working class. narrator: freedom of the press, freedom of religion, they may not be important to hitler, but all of these things are the common heritage of john q public and great britain. 700 years ago, our ancestors fought for the magna carta.
300 years ago the petition for rights. >> no man should be compelled to yield any tax without parliament. narrator: these came to our country with the earliest settlers, then developed. >> congress will make no laws in respect of religion, where abridging -- narrator: we speak the same language of freedom. even when we wrote the declaration -- >> you cannot but respect to their cause and wish to make it your own. narrator: and alongside his great naval hero, john britain has put george washington. and in parliament's square, abraham lincoln. of course, hitler does not like this talk.
he wants to say that we are a nation of money grubbers and gangsters. in the next studio, he is telling us the british are dopes. that we are entirely different. ok, where are these miners? wales or west virginia? these farmers, devonshire or wisconsin? the steelworkers, sheffield or pittsburgh? these children, american or british? they live in lands that share the same hope, the same ideals, and unlike the poor children of germany in a land where the truth is free. ♪
narrator: let's not kid ourselves, great britain is not the united states. for instance, we do not go for this kind of thing. they do. but there is no mystery about that. remember our grandmothers house, old-fashioned and out of date, passed down by generations. well, john britain has been living in his house for a long time. in the modern house, we had built ourselves to suit ourselves. john britain seems slow moving like kings for instance. the king has gone to the same church and into the same ceremonies that his ancestors did. but his job is very different from theirs. there are changes.
he can no longer impose taxes or interfere with the government. he and his family work the job that the people expected of him. he is a servant of the people and not the ruler. when an american is arrested and brought to trial, the bailiff calls his case. >> the people versus john doe. narrator: but in great britain -- >> the king versus john doe. narrator: it means the same thing. today, the king is a symbol of the people. the british are fans of buckingham palace, but when they sing god save the king, they are not singing about his health, they are talking about the british people. and in 1911, the people took away the last remaining power of the lords. to block about the actions.
dukes and earls do not run the country anymore. today there are only two people that do that, john britain and his wife. they go to the polls and they elect their representatives to the house of commons. and they fix the taxes and the laws. and if they wanted to get rid of the representatives, they could vote them out of existence. but john does not want to get rid of them. they keep dukes and lords in a country where unions have long been accepted as an essential part of the system. where the labour party controlled by the unions is one of the two great political parties. where railroad engineers and longshoremen work together and for 30 years, they have had social security, even more extensive than our own.
so when you read about the lords, do not think they got jobs because of -- they got them because they were the best man for the jobs, just as the former labor leader and now member of the war cabinet, and an errand boy that is now the minister of home security, got there important jobs because they were the best men for them. but the things on the surface, differ. but the important things, do not. they are run the democratic way. this gentleman never bothered about the troops. and when john britain started carrying the war to germany, they used a line. narrator: ok, we will take a look.
here is the british empire. here is where the germans were going after britain declared war. does that look like trying to save the empire? tackling germany when they were going into poland and russia? after poland fell, hitler tried to work with the british. this was a chance to save the empire. but that is not what the british were thinking about. >> the position of the government, in respect of any -- peace offer by hitler, we are not prepared to negotiate with him at any time. [applause] narrator: and after britain had been on the losing end, they had another chance to save the empire.
even now, hitler thought that britain would make a deal. we heard the answer. >> what kind of people today think we are? is it possible they do not realize that we shall never cease to fight against them until they have been taught a lesson, which they and the world will never forget. [applause] narrator: let's take a look at the british empire. the freedom we fought for britain has since given to canada, australia, new zealand, south africa. these are independent nations, with their own parliaments, their own laws, even their own money systems, their own tariffs, which often work to the disadvantage of great britain.
[explosion] narrator: great britain could not even take them into war if she wanted to. they declared war on germany of its own free will. >> nobody ever talks about the british empire today without mentioning india. men of goodwill in great britain and other countries have been outspoken in their demand for indian freedom. no man who believes in democracy can support the foreign role of -- rule of any people. but there are many things we do not know about india. india pays no taxes to britain. that the indians fix their own tariffs laws often to britain's
disadvantage. 11 of the 15 members of the council is indian. 10 of every 11 judges is indian. it was voluntary enlistment that raised the army to a million and a quarter today. and on the subject of india, listen to the words of field marshal. british 40gainst the years ago and was defeated in his fight until he became the leader of the british commonwealth of nations. india can be free in the same way and by the same means as canada and new zealand. their peoples worked out a constitution for themselves, the same choice is open to india.
can thats not a thing -- that can be imposed. it can only be created from within. >> they have a responsibility to reconcile the differences with its if the dozens of different religions. the british government placed itself on record and promised full self-government if they will work out a constitution that will satisfy its people when the world -- war is over. that troops are needed to keep the not season japanese from uniting. for this, india provides the for travel from burma. if it wasn't for the british in
gibraltar, there would have been no american landing in north africa. there's another tune they play about the british empire. >> the british let others fight the war for them. fight the war for them. >> britain will fight to the last. the troops that thousands of canadians and australians and new zealanders have gallantly fault -- fault --and gallantly died in greece and in libya. there's something pretty important. out of every 10 inhabitants of the british empire, one comes
from britain. but of the casualties suffered so far in this war, seven out of 10 were born and raised in britain. seven of 10 in casualties. and in the air, as the planes fly, two out of three are manned by cruise from britain and the planes on the overseas front, four out of five are manned by men from britain. and then there's a little thing called the british navy. it went against the spanish armada. in 1940 it is moving on a two ocean navy. that too is manned almost entirely by men from britain. a little island in the atlantic.
and the british royal navy, still the greatest merchant navy in the world. men from every british town, on ice coated darks, in grimy into dreams, men have been to repeated twice, three times. one of the sailors has been torpedoed six times and still find on again. we never hear about these things because of ways that will never
be understandable to an american. he has an idea that he shouldn't talk about himself and what he does. he calls it bad form. he say of a spitfire, oh he is not exact type. but this band, the boss of the german air force, who is been the most deadly fighter in the world, and we certainly need an interpreter when this happens. all, except that he spent two days in the icy waters of the north atlantic after being torpedoed. see this man. this man, believe it or not, is the first man who flew the atlantic nonstop.
in 1919, eight years before anyone else, he and another man flew nonstop from newfoundland to ireland. he went back into its security. there is nothing wrong with john britain that a course in showmanship wouldn't cure. for a moment imagine that you are not american, but british. you would still be in uniform. but in britain every man between the age of 18 and 41, in less you cannot be replaced, is already in uniform. your old man too. they are starting to draft men up to 51. if you got yourself into this mess, he was say, frightfully sorry old chap, you're in the army anyway. if you are a sailor or in the air force are and the land army or a pilot or in the fire brigade, she is probably in the navy. and even if she is married anyone up to 41 can be drafted.
they have quest -- kept quiet about industry, just as this kept out the aircraft in the auto fields. they have what you have read about. the quiet country lanes. but they also have sheffield and the pittsburgh of britain. they have the picturesque little village. the lovely old castles, but they also have the shipyards of the river clyde. still one of the greatest in the world.
they also have the great industrial cities of burning home him. they seldom if ever saw an american tourist that they may britain, even in peacetime, one of the greatest industrial powers in the world. and in wartime, even as late as july 1942, this country no larger than the state of idaho, was making more war equipment than we were. maybe you thought britain sat there and waited for us to send in planes, and guns, and tanks. it saves his skin when he was in a tough spot. but it works in more ways than one. today john britain himself furnishes planes and guns so they can be of aid to us, to russia, and allies all over the world. in prison of all our forces have
received free from the british and millions and a half tons of food, clothes, and ammunition. there is another thing you want to know about britain. if your unit gets sent there, you probably won't be invited out for supper or a drink. that's not because the british don't want to entertain you, they have nothing to entertain you with. britain is mobilized for war. total war. and that means an end to civilian supplies. if you are a britisher, you wouldn't expect your girl to use lipstick. there isn't any access what we bring over as bait. she wouldn't be nicely dressed because of severe rations. very unlikely she wears stockings because if she bought a pair of stockings a month they'll be all the clothes of any kind she could buy. that is some rationing. john britain gets at all. he goes to a pub to buy a bottle of whiskey, the pub keeper glass in his face.
green is needed for -- grain is needed for industrial alcohol. industrial alcohol is need for munitions. ended up -- it is all sent to america for the goods britain by fear. don't forget, britain buys and pays for vast quantities of goods. if the cash purchases that britain made before we entered the war, allowed our industry to be built up in record times. he goes to buy a pack of cigarettes, or probably aren't any. but if there are, that's $.40 for a pair of cigarettes. the pack is paid to the government. britain is going all out in taxation. nobody is making any money out of this war. industry is paying. excess profits tax is 100%. labor is paying. the man who earns $32 a week pays 35% income tax.
and the rich man, if there are any of them left, pay that income tax no less than 90 half percent. there is the matter food. there are not many fat men these days. he knows that it is helping him to win the war. the british rations are the rations of a free people. they could get food as they did in peacetime from canada, australia, but that would mean ships and the british prefer to use the ships for supplies to russia. planes for america, trips to the mediterranean, to win the war, every britisher is on short rations and has been for two years. everyone except the children. they get four times the eggs that grown-ups do. they get all the oranges that arrived in britain. and practically all of the extra milk.
but john britton is thinking of after the war. of the new war that his children and ours will inherit. a world where it will not only be freedom of speech and freedom of worship, that also freedom from want and freedom from fear. >> it is not given to us to peer into the mysteries of the future. inviolate, in the days to come the british and american people will for their own safety and for the good of all work together in majesty, justice, and in peace. >> this is what the british are fighting for. they are in old people, a stubborn people, and sometimes they had moved slowly. but in three years of blood, and sweat, and tears, john britain has been strong. ♪
>> now he is tough, now he is determined, and now he knows where he is launching to victory into a new world. he is a good man to have on our team. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] are watching c-span three. join the conversation. like us on on c-span history. >> we have more coverage now of a recent conference posted in
gettysburg college, pennsylvania. of theus was the legacy civil war. , a panel of historians talk about the challenges confederate veterans faced after the civil war. this is about an hour and 15 minutes. >> good afternoon. i am peter carmichael. i'm the director of the civil war institute. it is my privilege and pleasure to introduce the speakers for our conversation or panel on the return of the confederacy. -- from the confederacy. those of you who are part of the audience, you can be the conversation. we are course twitter, chas been ready. cwi2016.